«Jewish Observer»
September 2002
5763 Tishrei

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A man unaware of his past is unworthy of his future. A man unaware of his roots is like a dried-up tree. For so many tears our rulers tried to liken Jews to a drying out tree. The first generation of Soviet Jews still remembered the language and traditions, the second - only understood the language and remembered tasty dishes of their Jewish grandmothers. The current third and fourth generations, those of post-Soviet Jews, passed in their youth through orderly rows of Oktobrist and pioneer lines, Komsomol meetings. They know neither their language or traditions nor the history of their people, but they felt Jews differ from other, be it a school class, group or company.

Other times have come. People ardently took to the Jewish culture; Jewish religious and cultural societies sprang up all over Ukraine. We ceased being ashamed or afraid of our nationality. We are proud of being Jews, proud of our exceptional history, our rich traditions and our ancient culture. Openly and proudly we say about ourselves, "We - Jews".

Ukraine is a multinational and multiconfessional state, and the majority of Jews are married to non-Jews. We are pleased to meet a New Year calculated since Christ's birth, American Halloween, French day of seizure of Bastille, we know much of Christ, Buddha... Any religion deserves respect; any tradition is entitled to existence. But isn't it time to recollect who are we, why has the God sent our souls namely to the Jewish parents? For this was not purely by chance!

To be a Jew means not only to have a corresponding entry in the document. This, in the first turn, means we should know our language, our history and our traditions. The simplest way is to say our parents didn't teach us this; it was dangerous to keep to our Jewish traditions. Yes, it was so. IT WAS! But at present this is not forbidden, not dangerous (and in some cases, alas, even profitable)!

Look at what is going on in the Jewish life of, if only, our Sumy. Our Khesed is doing a huge job, we have a day-time center, attend wonderful concerts worthy to be shown to the entire town, visit lectures on Jewish men of culture. We have a Sunday school not only Jewish children are eager to go to, lots of circles at the Community center, rich library and many other things.

All this provides an excellent opportunity to join the Jewish life openly, fearing nothing!

My friends, my dear Aids, my dear brothers, come to the Khesed not only out of necessity.

Be eager to come to the Community center, read Jewish books and newspapers and discover the Jewish world. Sing Jewish songs, dance Jewish dances, listen to the Jewish music and observe Jewish Sabbath and all Jewish holidays.

Learn the Jewish way of life and our thousand-years' tradition. And if you sense an inner necessity to observe, at least, one of many you are a step closer to God.

Raise you heads and be proud to belong to a great Jewish nation as our children - pupils of the Sunday school - already do it.

Believe, as soon as we begin respecting ourselves we shall deserve the respect of all those we are fated to live side-by-side in our Ukraine and in any other country.


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© 2002 Jewish Confederation of Ukraine - www.jewukr.org